But so what, if you aren’t real, so what if you are only imaginary? I see you, there, at the bottom of the yard, lifting the magpie, caressing its white breast, stroking your finger along the top of its long black tail, lovingly whispering a line of poetry along the cobalt stripe of its proud wing, then sending it aloft in the movement of your breath, between the low and hard-clattering heads of winter-bare apple trees.
I hear you, here, outside the upstairs window, buffeting the huge linden, threatening to blow even that massive hard-skinned angel down with all your might, if I won’t NOW pay attention to your sudden clanging music in the wind-chime, a crescendo to demand close inwards, icy down-country turbulence.
I see you as the memory of last winter’s jack rabbit sprinting alongside dead blackberry brambles, furtive, seeking to enter your warren without being spotted by the unseen fox, which must certainly crouch among the waving alders above the lowest valley pond, fine nose pointed toward the near-storming north, ears pressed back in anticipation.
And you are even in the brambles that themselves await their time to crack new life slowly upward from dormant roots, twine around barbed-wire fences and begin their eventual thorny pinkish-white flowering, but for now stand only as disregarded brittle twigs, blistering with old prickles.
I see you smouldering, in my mind’s eye, beneath the sleepy volcano, 29 valleys away, in layers of distant rainy grey; I see you in that hulking bull in the neighbouring field, momentarily stock-still, hoary face charging gusts of wind with loamy gaze and hay-warmed blasts of exhaled carbon.
And what if this is all you are? Can’t I love you just the same?
I allow myself this pleasure, this quick and momentary creative game. And now look — the rains are fast upon us, it is a torrent; we dance, you and I, we dance! And you are suddenly above me, a great hawk, circling now, as tender moles poke noses out of ground to sniff the denting bounty of water; but you have eyes only for me, this temporary human mirror; arms wide, wings wide, wild within the wet cloud in which we dance, on this here-now hilltop that the far puy, waking, observes with rumbling satisfaction!
And now, now, as we slow, slow, and you return to crackling air, we shall bring in the firewood, and make ourselves warm beside the fire.
Hey, my love, relax; calm your fervent ire.
Look, a rainbow — a rainbow springs from the hamlet across the valley.
But no, do not go it; pray, stay, instead; the gold is here; here in the fact that we may gaze upon an ephemeral prism, an imaginary sign of heaven turned real, now, together.
It’s mistral season in southern France, and I believe — though my neighbour D. will argue amicably against it — that the origins of the same wind can be felt even here in Auvergne, northwest of that Rhône corridor in which it ends up funnelling toward the Mediterranean. Was quite exciting on this afternoon; the wind whips an energy into everything, nearly lifting trampolines.
[Edits: I’ve removed the other process notes for this; in retrospect I wasn’t sure if the linked friends would be happy to be inadvertently associated with this text. I will try to celebrate them at another time and place. I’ve also changed the title from “Afternoon dance” and removed the stock image, which in this case didn’t do the reality justice.]
Nadine inhales & exhales words & images from current vantage point in Auvergne, France. Thank you for reading. ❤︎